Friday, November 30, 2007

master of the killer ants

Illustration: Henri-Pierre Aberlenc

The Mofu people of northern Cameroon, Africa, have developed a unique process of defending themselves and their crops against termites and other pests: by calling on killer ants they called the jaglavak (Dorylus) for help!

The Mofu who sees his compound invaded by termites and ants calls on the jaglavak for help. Dorylus colonies are not easy to find. After identifying the nest or colony of jaglavak on the move, the Mofu removes from the colony several hundred to a thousand, or even more, Dorylus soldiers. […]

The Mofu put the jaglavak on the ground within an ocher circle from which extends a path, also traced in ocher, that leads toward the area of the most badly infested house. The Mofu admit that they do not see the jaglavak operate, but they claim that two or three weeks later, the harmful insects have disappeared, and the jaglavak as well, for they do not remain in the compound …

mountain coat range

This Mountain Coat Range by d-ECO-rate uses excess wood to create a silhouette of the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Grand Tetons. The jagged edges serve as a place to hang your coat and scarves!

30 fps flipbook animation

my pet goldfish

Feed the fish, and he will grow. Just how big, I do not know. LINK

thousand year old riddle for all you dirty minded people....

The Exeter Book, a tenth century codex of Anglo-Saxon poetry is the largest collection of Old English literature. In addition to poems, there are about a hundred or so riddles (and yes, some of them are quite ribald!)

See if you can guess the answer to this 1,000-year old riddle:

Swings by his thigh / a thing most magical!
Below the belt / beneath the folds
Of his clothes it hangs / a hole in its front end,
stiff-set and stout / it swivels about.

Levelling the head / of this hanging tool,
its wielder hoists his hem / above his knee;
it is his will to fill / a well-known hole
that it fits fully / when at full length

He’s oft filled it before. / Now he fills it again.

Answer ??

history of religion

How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!


Thursday, November 29, 2007

is it christmas yet?

Check back daily.

death by booze

Find out how many of your favorite alcoholic beverages it would take to send you to a drunken grave. Look for your beverage of choice, enter your weight, select your gender, and see how much you have to drink before the alcohol kills you.

I don't drink any alcohol but if I did - it would take 16 martinis to kill me.

It would take 16 Martinis to kill me

the man with five kidneys

One day, Brigham Nordstrom of Hautapu, New Zealand got a kidney infection and was admitted to the hospital. There, doctors found out that he’s got a little something extra:

"The doctors took a scan. Then I had to get a second one done. They wanted to have another look."

Doctors had found one duplex kidney and one triplex kidney. Instead of having one tube or ureter joining each kidney to the bladder, Mr Nordstrom had two tubes on the left and three on the right.

Accordingly, the duplex kidney has two parts and the triplex has three parts, meaning it is quite likely Mr Nordstrom has five kidneys altogether.

i like it that way

One of the first viral hits, the video features two Chinese students (Wei Wei and Huang Yi Xin) passionately lip-synching to the Backstreet Boys' "I Like It That Way" to a cheap Webcam in their dorm room. I can't tell whether I hate or love these guys, especially the freaky one on the left (Wei Wei), but I keep watching because I like the guy in the background playing Counter Strike. According to Wikipedia, the "Back Dorm Boys," as they've come to be called, were later signed as spokespeople for Motorola cell phones in China.

famous last words : the animated musical

You never get a second chance to make a last impression. Ransom Riggs of mental_floss wrote and directed an animated video that takes us on a tour of famous people in history and their famous last words, all set to a catchy tune and hosted by the Grim Reaper himself!

leaping mobula rays

In the Sea of Cortez at the southern Gulf of Mexico, there is a spectacular sight of … leaping Mobula rays!

It looks like a futuristic space ship skimming over the ocean’s surface. Or maybe a triangular shaped prototype aircraft launched from the depths.

In fact it is a Mobula Ray, a smaller cousin of the Manta Ray, which puts on a spectacular leaping display. Mobula Ray pictures reveal spectacular leaps […]

They hurtle up from the depths and leap several feet into the air often turning somersaults in the process.

periodic table


mythbusters: are elephants afraid of mice?

hand in hand

He lost his leg when he was very young. She lost an arm in a car accident. But their ballet won a dance competition on a Chinese TV network.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

equation book shelf

why do worms go onto the sidewalk when it rains?

Most people assume that earthworms come to the surface during heavy rains to avoid drowning in their tunnels. In fact, worms can live totally submerged in water, so drowning isn’t the problem. But the rainwater that filters down through the ground contains very little oxygen, so the real reason earthworms come to the surface is to breathe.

Once above ground, earthworms are very sensitive to light, and even a brief exposure to the sun’s rays can paralyze them. Unable to crawl back into their burrows, they eventually dry out and die on the sidewalk.

quit smoking

it could be lupus

robots inspired by nature

i'm on vogue !

Monday, November 26, 2007

the sensitive plant

super parking skill

Can you park your 457 cm long car in a 480 cm tight spot?

This Korean guy can. He does it every day.

idaho's fire rainbow

The atmospheric phenomenon known as a circumhorizon(tal) arc, or "Fire rainbow", appears when the sun is high in the sky (i.e., higher than 58° above the horizon), and its light passes through diaphanous, high-altitude cirrus clouds made up of hexagonal plate crystals. Sunlight entering the crystals' vertical side faces and leaving through their bottom faces is refracted (as through a prism) and separated into an array of visible colors. When the plate crystals in cirrus clouds are aligned optimally (i.e., with their faces parallel to the ground), the resulting display is a brilliant spectrum of colors reminiscent of a rainbow. The example shown above was captured on camera as it hung for about an hour across a several-hundred square mile area of sky above northern Idaho (near the Washington border) on 3 June 2006.


An Angry-Gram is the perfect way to let someone know they totally do your head in. Tell the Angry-Gram who they are and why they wind you up. A screaming 3-Pepper Angus, the Angry Whopper, will be send to them and really let them have it.

Make your own Angry-Gram.

resurrection fern

It knows how to play dead. During drought periods, the fern goes grey and curls up, appearing to be completely dead. When it receives even a tiny bit of water, it turns lush and green again. Some have estimated that it could be resurrected after up to 100 years.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

wanna see a life-size whale?


to blog or not to blog


Juan Enriquez offers a glimpse of some ground-breaking research to explore the potential of bioenergy. Our current energy sources -- coal, oil, gas -- are ultimately derived from ancient plants -- they're "concentrated sunlight." He asks, Can we learn from that process and accelerate it? Can we get to the point where we grow our own energy as efficiently as we grow wheat? (Less than a month after this talk, his company announced a process to do just that.)

Why Don’t We Have a Word for That?

Americans excel at inventing colorful expressions and slang, but it turns out other countries are pretty good at it, too. Here are a list of useful words from around the world that should’ve been invented for the English language:

Kummerspeck (Germany): "Grief bacon" - the weight that you gain by overeating when you’re worried about something.

Attaccabottoni (Italy): A "buttonholer" - someone who corners casual acquaintances or even complete strangers for the purpose of telling them their miserable life stories.

Modré Pondeli (Czech): "Blue Monday" - When you skip coming in to work to give yourself a three-day weekend.

Razbliuto (Russia): The feeling you have for a person you used to love, but don’t anymore.

Shitta (Iran): Leftover dinner that’s eaten for breakfast.

Tartle (Scotland): To momentarily forget the name of the person you’re talking to. The word helps reduce the social embarrassment of such situations: "I’m sorry, I tartled there for a moment."

Pana po’o (Hawaii): To scratch your head in an attempt to remember something you’ve forgotten.

Ngaobera (Easter Island): A sore throat caused by too much screaming.

Backpfeifengesicht (Germany): A face that’s just begging for somebody to put their fist in it.

Papierkrieg (Germany): "Paper war" - bureaucratic paperwork whose only purpose is to block you from getting the refund, insurance payment, or other benefit that you have coming.

Rujuk (Indonesia): To remarry your ex-wife.

Mokita (New Guinea): The truth that everyone knows, but no one will speak about.

Gorrero (Spain, Central America): Someone who never picks up the check.

Fucha (Poland): Using your employer’s time and resources for your own purposes. (Uncle John had never heard of such a thing and wanted to ask around the office if anyone else had, but everyone is still out to lunch.)

the cloud

The Cloud is Nadim Karam’s design concept for a resort city elevated 300 metres in the air and supported on slanting legs resembling rain.

Where it’s supposed to be located? Yes, you guessed it: in Dubai.

condition 1 weather

McMurdo Station in Antartica is a science research center operated by the United States. The weather at McMurdo Station is classified as being Condition 3 (nice weather), Condition 2 (not so nice), or Condition 1. Take a look at the video to see what Condition 1 is:

was the first controlled experiment actually in the bible?

One of the first - if not the very first - controlled experiments was actually described in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel, the prophet Daniel tested the effects of eating simply (a diet of pulse or lentils and other seeds) versus a kingly feast of meat and wine:

12Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

13Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

14So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

15And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

Friday, November 23, 2007

bugs you can eat

Tarantulas, grasshoppers, and scorpions are just the beginning of insects you can eat. Why do you think they call them “mealworms”?


ordering pizza in 2010

Data mining is the process of automatically searching large volumes of data for patterns. A simple example of data mining is its use for retail sales. If a clothing store records the purchases of customers, a data mining system could identify those customers who favour silk shirts over cotton ones.

Here's an example of data mining. Don't think this isn't going to happen because it is. And if this wasn't so funny, it would be really scary.

morocco's climbing goats

Goats on trees are found mostly only in Morocco. The goats climb them because they like to eat the fruit of the argan tree, which is similar to an olive. Farmers actually follow the herds of goats as they move from tree to tree. Not because it is so strange to see goats in trees and the farmers like to point and stare, but because the fruit of the tree has a nut inside, which the goats can't digest, so they spit it up or excrete it which the farmers collect. The nut contains 1-3 kernels, which can be ground to make argan oil used in cooking and cosmetics. This oil has been collected by the people of the region for hundreds of years, but like many wild and useful things these days, the argan tree is slowly disappearing due to over-harvesting for the tree's wood and overgrazing by goats.

As a result a group of people and organizations have banded together to try to save the tree. To do so one of the primary locations where the trees grow has been declared a biosphere preserve. It was also decided that by making the world aware of the oil, it's great taste and supposed anti-aging properties, would create a demand for it. However, the people who planned to market the oil could not envision people wanting to put an oil on their food or their face that was collected from goat excrement. As a result, a campaign is being led to ban grazing on the trees by goats during certain parts of the year to allow the fruit to ripen and fall off on its own. The fruit is then collected and turned into oil by oil cooperatives. So far, this arrangement seems to be working.

giving him praise... the aerobic way

miss landmine

Angola is littered with thousands of landmines all over the country. In 23 years, over 80,000 people had died or lost limbs due to one wrong step.

To call attention to this problem and to raise funds to eliminate landmines, Norwegian artist Morten Traavik launched a controversial beauty pageant called Miss Landmine, where 10 women competed for the title of most beautiful mutilated Angolan woman, and the first prize of a leg prosthesis.


the most beautiful flower garden

The most beautiful and the most visited flower garden in the world is Keukenhof Gardens here in the Netherlands. It's a 70-acre showcase for the Dutch flower industry. Visitors can see a changing display of more than 7 million flowers - including some 1,000 varieties of tulips alone.

Where Keukenhof is situated now, was a hunting area in the 15th century. Herbs for the kitchen of the castle of Jacoba of Bavaria were also collected here; hence the name Keukenhof (keuken = kitchen, hof = garden).

list of oxymora

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines two usually contradictory terms in a compressed paradox, as in the word 'bittersweet' or the phrase 'living death.'

Other examples are: clearly misunderstood, random pattern, true fiction, deliberate mistake, and harmless crime.


christmas holidays

Did you have to look twice at the picture above before you knew what you were looking at? I did.

They are geese, crowded together in their open-air enclosure on a farm in Kuhhorst, Germany. The animals will be the centerpieces at the dinner table for the upcoming Christmas holidays.

the miracle tree

Imagine a tree that will meet all your nutritional needs, take care of you medicinally, and purify your water for you. This tree actually exists.

For centuries indigenous people in northern India and many parts of Africa have known the many benefits of Moringa oleifera. Its uses are as unique as the many names it is known by, such as clarifier tree, horseradish tree, drumstick tree and in East Africa it has the alias 'mother's best friend.'

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

on-line colour thesaurus

Colour names are a powerful means of selecting and communicating colors. There are a variety of colour vocabularies and dictionaries available but there has been less work in capturing the similiarities and differences in color naming.

To use the online colour thesaurus, simply type the colour name in a text field. Once you have typed in your color name click on 'submit' and the results will be displayed.

denmark's black sun

During spring in Denmark, at approximately one half an hour before sunset, flocks of more than a million European starlings (sturnus vulgaris) gather from all corners to join in the incredible formations shown above. This phenomenon is called Black Sun (in Denmark), and can be witnessed in early spring throughout the marshlands of western Denmark, from March through to the middle of April. The starlings migrate from the south and spend the day in the meadows gathering food, sleeping in the reeds during the night.

casting spells with dna

Paul Rothemund compares his work to "casting a spell" -- and it does seem akin to magic. By writing a set of instructions, he can cause bits of DNA to fold themselves into a smiley face, a star, a triangle. Sure, it's a stunt, but it's also a fascinating window into the possibility of self-assembly at the smallest of scales. In other words: today a smiley face, tomorrow a micro-microprocessor.

how well do you know your world?

In this geography game, click as close to the prompted location as you can, but remember, speed counts!


the origin of hip-hop music

In the latest Chinese viral video advertising series from Nokia, the story goes that hip hop originated in the 60s in a farming village in Inner Mongolia. The master of the art is a 60-year-old who goes by the name MC Farmer.

that old blogger

Santa Claus left a comment at my site today, reminding me about his personal blog. The latest post tells about the launch of his business blog, Corporate Responsibility @ The North Pole, where you can look up Santa’s stance on volunteerism, animal rights, environmental practices, and more.


Monday, November 19, 2007

cool water trick


How to generate a snowflake .

proven by science: messy beds are actually healthier !

Attention slobs! Tired of getting hassled by your parents/spouse/roommate for not making up your bed in the morning? Well, tell them that science has proven that messy beds are actually healthier:

Research suggests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unappealing to house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies. A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the warm, dry conditions found in an unmade bed. […]

Researcher Dr Stephen Pretlove said: "We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body.

"Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die."

happy birthday, vacuum tube !

On November 16, 1904, British engineer John Ambrose Fleming patented the vacuum tube . This ushered in the age of modern electronics, leading to the development of radio, TV, and other forms of electronic equipment. Vacuum tubes were standard until the advent of the transistor. The US Supreme Court eventually invalidated Fleming’s patent, but he is still known as the inventor of the vacuum tube.


chocolate globe

OSAKA, JAPAN - Japan's Otemae Confectionery College professor Hiroshi Matsui displays a 3-meter diameter chocolate made globe, weighing 800kg, at the college's festival November 10, 2007 in Osaka, western Japan. Matsui and students dotted some 35,000 colored chocolate truffles, in 3-cm diamter, on a 3-meter diameter core chocolate ball to shape a globe, which warns the global warming to be melting down over the temperature of 40-degree Celsius. (Photo by Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

rubik's cube - citroen c1

If I hadn't killed 52 flies as a child, how many descendants would they have had by now?


Sunday, November 18, 2007

funny physics

Funny Physics - Watch a funny movie here

museum of the human body

Museum of The Human Body. Realistic models showing the inner workings of human body. Warning: a little graphic.

music maps

Find out who is listening to what and where. The popularity map shows snapshots of current top artists and album charts by geographical location.

This flash-based interactive map works using data from the Gracenote Media Database and shows data in states, regions, countries, and continents around the world.

trap and torture

Tree ants (Allomerus decemarticulatus) in the Amazon construct elaborate traps for other insects they feed upon. They build these traps from tree fibers reinforced with fungus. When an unsuspecting insect encounters the trap, the ants emerge from hiding underneath and pull the prey’s legs to immobilize them, almost like a torture rack. Then they dismember the victim and carry the parts off to the colony. This method of “drawing and quartering” allows the ants to dine on insects much larger than themselves.


Yesterday I stumbled upon an article on unwarranted fears and discovered there was a phobia called Caligynephobia, the fear of beautiful women. At first I didn't believe someone could actually be afraid of a beautiful woman. But it's true, Caligynephobia does exist.

Caligynephobia, also called Venustraphobia, is the persistent and unwarranted fear of beautiful women, often experienced when physically interacting with an attractive female. Caligynephobia is estimated to effect approximately 0.47% of males in Britain, and 0.61% in America.

Its effects ultimately lead to a decrease in social and business activities, as communication with alluring women is generally attempted to be avoided where possible. Thus symptoms are easily detectible and mostly harmless. They include shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, perspiration, nausea and overal feeling of dread.

For all those suffering from the fear of beautiful women, there's an effective treatment for Caligynephobia.


earthrise, earthset

Video of Earth rising and setting over the moon’s horizon, taken with the HDTV camera aboard Japan’s KAGUYA (SELENE) lunar explorer on November 7, 2007.


When a group (wisdom? parliament? stare? study? Take a pick of your favorite animal collectives) of baby owls became orphaned, they found a new surrogate mom: a stuffed toy!

A group of orphaned baby owls snuggle up to a cuddly toy which has become their surrogate mum after they were found on the brink of death in the wild.

The tiny tawny owl chicks burrow in under the fluffy toy’s wings to keep warm after they were separated from their own mothers. […]

The group have all bonded and snuggle up close to each other and to the cuddly toy owl dubbed ‘mummy owl’, which has to be washed regularly because she gets so much love.

Friday, November 16, 2007

food chain fossil found

A vertebrate “food chain” fossil has been found in Germany. It was a shark that had eaten an amphibian that had eaten a fish. Scientists compared the fossil to Russian nesting dolls.

The fossilized trio lived 290 million years ago in the shallow coastal waters of a freshwater lake in the Saar-Nahe Basin of southwestern Germany. The lake had previously been linked to the sea but was landlocked for millions of years before the three animals lived and died.

Several pieces of evidence suggest the animals must have formed part of a single food chain.

the prettiest insect

The Orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) is a variety of flower mantis usually found in Malaysia and Indonesia. Doesn’t the mantis pictured look just like an orchid? They hide in the flowers they resemble, waiting for other delicious insects to alight.

how viagra is adverised in arabic countries

the coolest online catalog

  • It takes a few moments to load

  • It’s in a language that’s not English

  • It’s worth the wait…..


placenta fools the immune system by acting like a parasite

Scientists had just discovered how placenta avoid being attacked by the mother’s immune system: it fools the body’s defenses by acting like a parasitic worm!

The placenta plays a vital role in pregnancy, acting as a link between the mother and foetus and providing it with essential nutrients.

However, as both the placenta and foetus have a different genetic make-up from the mother, in theory they are at risk of attack from her immune system.

The researchers already knew that the placenta secreted a small protein - neurokinin B (NKB) - which is found in significantly higher levels in mothers when pre-eclampsia develops. […]

However, they found that the placental form of the protein did not react in the same way as the form they had been using in the laboratory.

It was clear that a modification was occurring during the synthesis of the protein by the placenta. Further investigation revealed that placental NKB contained the molecule phosphocholine, which is used by the parasitic nematode worm to avoid attack by the immune system of the host in which it lives.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

porcelain soda can

Chinese artist Lei Xue created these awesome painted porcelain soda cans!

one man band


violent sex

The gruesome behavior or the male African bat bug (Afrocimex constrictus) is directed at other bat bugs. Instead of copulating via the female’s sex organs, he will stab her abdomen to release sperm directly into her bloodstream. So the females have evolved paragenitals, a “spongy reservoir of immune cells” as a defense against these tactics. But since male bat bugs are not particular when it comes to mating, some male bat bugs have also developed paragenitals to defend themselves against sexual attack!

poor hamster

An animated song from ytmnd. A silly, sadistic, somewhat gory song. Poor hamster, poor hamster, why must your life be so tough?


odd fish that can live in a log

The rivulus is notorious for being the only fish that can naturally self-fertilize and is also known to breathe air for long periods of time. However, scientists accidentally discovered that this odd American fish can live in logs while breathing air for months at a time, a behavior they now call “logpacking” since many rivulas will pack together inside a single log.


teen chat decoder

Parents, do you ever wonder what your child is really saying online? Just start typing the acronym you wish to search for in the Teen Chat Decoder. The teen chat term database will automatically start to display all possible acronyms results for your search.

Some examples:

saa - same as always.
e2eg - ear to ear grin.
g2e - got to eat.
raggin - mom is calling me.
t2yl - talk to you later.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

rare albino ratfish looks as ugly as it sounds

Scientists found a rare albino ratfish and declared it still as ugly as the normal ones:

"They’re pretty ugly," said Jon Reum, a University of Washington doctoral student who spent his summer working on the marine survey. "They’ve got this gnarly spine on their backs, they bite, and they’re just a pain to work with."


For filmmaker Rob Stewart, exploring sharks began as an underwater adventure. What it turned into was a beautiful and dangerous life journey into the balance of life on earth. Driven by passion fed from a lifelong fascination with sharks, Stewart debunks historical stereotypes and media depictions of sharks as bloodthirsty, man-eating monsters and reveals the reality of sharks as pillars in the evolution of the seas.

Filmed in visually stunning, high definition video, Sharkwater takes you into the most shark rich waters of the world, exposing the exploitation and corruption surrounding the world's shark populations in the marine reserves of Cocos Island, Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.


Add to My Profile | More Videos

anteater favourites

Anteater favourites from flickr.


the shortest domain name

Google has purchased the shortest possible domain name to make it easier for Chinese users to find Google:

There are a few one-letter domain names out there, though: is owned by Nissan, by Qwest, and is owned by PayPal.

sprint waitless

Turn tedious tasks into fleeting moments with Sprintcuts - tips that'll refund your time and amaze your friends.


following the sun

A panorama picture showing the Arctic Circle where the sun does not set during many days of the year.

The picture is called 'The Midnight Sun' by Anda Bereczky.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

the coolest bird on earth

moo !

A video made by Cyriak, a b3ta member. The video is called Moo! Yes, it's about cows. Cows versus alien invaders.

And it's weird. Very weird!

how to tell if a web page sucks

So, you can't tell a crappy website from a great one? How about asking yourself a few questions before blindly accepting the authority of a random website.

Use the Website-Suck-Flowchart to find out whether your site is Brainrot, Web 2.0 fluff, a Fanboy site, if you're a Newb Ego Blogger, /dev/null, or the Real Deal.

It seems this site is the Real Deal.

the blog readibility test

Is it true you have to be a postgrad to read my blog? I can't believe that. But according to the Blog Readability Test it's true. And is that good or bad?

Take the Blog Readibility Test to see what level of education is required to understand your site. Just enter your site's URL.

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